Reading an Anthology of Chinese Poems of the Sung Dynasty, I Pause To Admire the Length and Clarity of Their Titles is a six-minute piece for narrator, flute, viola and harp based on the poem of the same title by American poet Billy Collins (the U.S. Poet Laureate 2001-03). As a composer, this piece is my musical reaction to the poem, which inspired me with its sparse, imagistic words and dry sense of humor. Like many other Collins’ poems, Reading an Anthology… also carries a great sense of delicacy and tenderness, and I cannot think of a better instrumentation than the combination of flute, viola and harp to present such qualities. The work was commissioned by Music in the Loft, Chicago’s chamber music series. It is part of The Billy Collins Suite.
"The piece is absolutely beautiful. Zhou evokes a sense of space and timelessness that suits the text perfectly.”
"Zhou Tian’s Reading an Anthology of Chinese Poems mixes narration in and out of the instrumental fabric, which in this instance is the Debussian trio of flute, viola, and harp. It’s an unusual but utterly satisfying fusion of French flavors with an American view of a Chinese poem. The interplay is ingenious, at times suggesting a Chinese composer’s quotations of a French composer’s Asian-tinged melodies. The recording is a model of clarity and finely honed balances, and the performers are of a uniformly high level."
"…a winning collection of vocal chamber works by Pierre Jalbert, Stacy Garrop, Vivian Fung, Lita Grier and Zhou Tian." - CD of the Week.
"Zhou Tian's musical setting is the most delicate, lyrical, and beautiful of all the compositions in the Suite and provides a fitting conclusion to the proceedings."
“Rarely do I listen to a CD of new works and instantly feel that every work/set is not only masterfully crafted but a true masterpiece; these all unquestionably are.”
—Classical Voice of New England
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